Monday, September 28, 2015

Author Interview: Sean Gallagher

Hello and welcome to the very first Author Interview on The Upstream Writer! Today I am introducing Sean Gallagher, an aspiring author I met at the Rose City ComicCon in Portland.

This is pretty much how I met Sean...
Mad props for personal commitment!
Tell us a little about yourself; When did you first decide to become a writer?

I have always loved reading fiction and have read many hundreds of books in my life, but I didn’t get the idea to write my own story until late summer of 1998. The Y2K craze was already in full swing and I thought about how people were worried about the end of the world back around the turn of the first millennium. That gave me the idea of how I could write a story about something cataclysmic without truly being the end of the world. I’d recently been reading a lot of alternate history and time travel type stories and it spurred my idea of marrying my love of epic fantasy, such as Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time, with my new love of alternate history. So the idea for Mysts of Mythos slowly began to germinate and I spent the next 15 years researching that era of history so the historical parts of my story would be true to real history.

The book you want to publish is called Mysts of Mythos. What is it about?

The concept comes from the theory of Infinite worlds. I wanted to tell an epic fantasy tale but with real historical people. But I am a science nerd so I had to come up with some reason that was at least scientifically plausible. Obviously magic is not real, but quantum physics allows for other universes that may have different rules than our universe has. That was the germ of my idea.

My framework is built on the idea that some people throughout history have been able to see through the veil between worlds. Their visions become the source of all of our myths and legends. One day the veil becomes thin, represented as a blanket of mist covering the world, and opens pathways between our world and those other worlds. Creatures that are the basis of our legends come through and become trapped here when the veil goes back to normal. In the meantime our natural laws have been changed, coming more in line with some of the worlds we were temporarily linked to, allowing real magic to work. Some people, who are at an age where their bodies are already going through massive change and are open to more, become endowed with new mystical abilities. In some cases they will be able to manipulate magic through the force of their will or belief in God. Others will have already existent natural abilities enhanced to supernatural levels. My four main characters will be some of those young folk with new powers.

How long have you been working on it?

I started buying history books about the [eleventh century] back in 1998. My focus has been refining ever since. After years of coming up with stories about different characters and situations ranging from a young farm boy in the frontiers of the Byzantine Empire to one of Leif Ericsson’s followers in their wintering camp in Newfoundland, I decided I had to narrow my story to something more manageable. I thought England would have the most broad based appeal so that’s where I put my energy and began to write in earnest in January of 2012.

Why do you think people would want to read it? What is its most compelling quality?

I am writing what I believe to be an excellent epic fantasy. But it is also a good historical fiction. It will have appeal to people who enjoy action adventure as well as educational writing. I’ll tell engaging stories about people whom you want to like, going through trials that will strain their abilities, making you care for them and bringing you a satisfying conclusion. Along the way I hope to educate the people who enjoy action adventure by exposing them to what medieval people ate, what they wore, how they fought, what their beliefs were, etc. Additionally I hope to give the people who enjoy historical fiction a reason to not turn up their noses at fantasy novels. Anyone who enjoys either fantasy or historical fiction should be able to enjoy my work.

Publishing is long and hard, with many decisions to make and a lot of potential for things to go very wrong--but you seem to have discovered a unique publishing opportunity for your book; can you tell us more about that?

I am in the Inkshares Nerdist contest. My book can be found at:

I need pre-orders to win publication. Normally a pre-order on Inkshares would cost $9.99, but if you have never been to Inkshares before they give you a credit of $5 for registering your account, so supporting my book would only cost you $4.99. If I don’t win publication, it doesn’t cost you anything at all, but if I do, you would know that you had a direct hand in getting a book published. If I can get into the top five, in pre-orders from individual readers, by Midnight of September 30th I win publication. As it stands right now fifth place has 409 readers and I have 51. That sounds like a lot at first, but it only a tiny fraction of people who read fantasy novels, much less being a tiny fraction of people who read at all. I only need to get in front of the right group of people who are interested in new fantasy and I can get those orders easily. First place is only 563 readers so it wouldn’t take me much more to get all the way to the top.

September 30 isn't that far away. I just checked the site you mentioned, and it had a meter that mentioned you still had "50 days left", which would put it sometime in early November. Is the September deadline merely for this special contest, but you still have a month or so to get published, or is all hope lost in three days?

Inkshares has a normal window of funding of 90 days. The contest is only 45 days however. So in three days my chances to win publication easily go away, but all hope is not lost for publication. It just gets more challenging. [To get a publishing deal through the contest], I have to get about 400 [more] readers to pre-order by the 30th. If that doesn’t happen the goal switches to Inkshares’ more standard amount which is 750 copies of the book sold (for publication of the e-book) or 1000 copies (or publication of a printed version in addition to the e-book). That’s a lot more books to sell, but I get the longer window to do it in.

Have you written anything else?

I have written a lot of small bits of fiction, mostly for my own enjoyment, and none with the potential for novelization. This is the story I want to tell. If this doesn’t work then I continue to write my own stories that perhaps no one will read but my friends, and that’s okay with me. But I hope for more of course. I think this is a great story and I would love to see it delivered in more types of media than just the bound and printed page.

Would you consider other means of publication, such as self-publication, or even sharing your stories on a blog or sites Wattpad, perhaps?

I have been publishing snippets on my blog, Instagram, and tumblr already. Once the contest is done I will move on to working the Inkshares route for the remainder of the goal window. If that doesn’t work I will re-focus myself on finishing the book itself (I have slowed down quite a bit trying to do self-promotion). Once the book is complete I will submit to publishers and agents and give them a short window of time before I move on to self-publication of an e-book. After that I’ll see how sales go and if there is a demand for a print version. I’m open to serialization via a couple of various methods.

Last question: What is the best piece of advice you have received in regards to your writing?

Just this: If you have a story to tell, don’t let anything stop you from telling it. No one knows who may enjoy your story until you get it printed. 

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Sean, and I wish you the best of luck in your publication journey!